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Outrage Explodes Over Seattle Cop's "Limited Value" Remark After Officer Kills Indian Student
Public fury is swelling over a Seattle police officer's appalling comment that a young Indian graduate student's life had "limited value" after she was fatally struck by a speeding patrol SUV.
The callous remark caught on bodycam video has spurred protests, demands for accountability, and outrage from the victim's home country.
On January 23, Officer Kevin Dave crashed his police cruiser traveling at 119kph in a 40kph zone into Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, killing the Indian student at a Seattle crosswalk. Dave was racing to an overdose call.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is now criminally reviewing the incident. But newly released footage shows a separate officer, Daniel Auderer, laughing afterwards while deeming Kandula's life worth merely an $11,000 payout.
Auderer's appalling comments to the police union president were recorded after he responded to evaluate Dave for potential impairment. The video's public release this week has catalyzed public anger and scrutiny over Kandula's tragic death.
Indian Consulate Seeks Thorough Investigation, Justice
India's Consulate General in San Francisco has strongly condemned the "deeply troubling" remarks, pressing Seattle and Washington DC authorities for a full probe and action against those responsible. Indian newspapers are spotlighting the case given Kandula's roots in Andhra Pradesh.
Protesters have rallied at the crash site demanding justice and jail for killer cops. Community leaders slammed the police's evident disregard for human life and called for urgent reforms to address SPD's cultural issues.
The State Department also expressed disturbance over the bodycam video and condolences to Kandula's loved ones.
Kandula had come to Seattle to support her mother in India and was nearing completion of her master's degree.
But her promising future was devastated in an instant by an officer's criminal negligence. The police union apologized for the "highly insensitive comments" that have justifiably sparked outrage.
Why This Resonates as a Symptom of Deep Police Problems
Several factors make this incident very troubling:
- A young student's avoidable death due to an officer's reckless 74mph speeding
- The nonchalant, joking attitude displayed in the aftermath by a senior officer
- Treating compensation for a life lost as a casual bargaining matter
- No expression of regret or empathy for the grieving family
- A problematic mindset that accepts fatal police misconduct as routine
- The police rank closing ranks through public statements
- The lack of transparency until the bodycam footage emerged
The video encapsulates much of what fuels mistrust towards law enforcement - excessive force with impunity, dehumanizing attitudes, resistance to accountability and an insular culture. Although SPD called the remarks insensitive, its defense of mitigating context rings hollow.
Vital Next Steps for Justice and Reform
This tragedy requires both criminal accountability and systemic changes:
- The prosecutor must fully review the crash and recommend appropriate homicide charges against the speeding officer. A transparent reckoning is critical.
- The city must deliver just compensation to Kandula's family, not paltry sums guesstimated crassly on video.
- The chiefs must discipline the vice president and guild president condoning the officer's conduct on tape.
- An independent review should examine whether high-speed police chases endanger public safety.
- Diversity training and emphasis on de-escalation tactics can help change department culture.
- Stronger oversight and community representation is essential to rebuild public trust.
- Bodycams must be used properly to increase transparency, not insulating misconduct.
The Seattle PD has faced excessive force lawsuits before. But this tragedy has ignited especially intense backlash. While the road ahead is challenging, public engagement coupled with accountability offers hope for meaningful improvements.
Justice for Jaahnavi Kandula can become a turning point pivoting policing onto a more transparent and humane path. But it requires surmounting deep systemic inertia through sustained civic participation.
Her ultimate legacy must be sparking reforms that strengthen community bonds and restore the value of all lives to those sworn to serve and protect.
Summarised from the original article by - apnews.com
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